Mating a Mac With a Cell Phone*
Remember the home of the future, where the lights and the heating automatically turn on as you come up the driveway after a hard day's work?
Well, a 30-year-old Swedish programmer named Jonas Salling and dozens of Internet collaborators are starting to realize that dream, thanks to Bluetooth-enabled phones and compatible Macs.
Last week, Salling released a clunkily named but surprisingly versatile piece of software for Mac OS X called the Sony Ericsson Clicker, which turns a Bluetooth-equipped Sony Ericsson cell phone into a universal remote for the Mac -- and more.
Bluetooth is a short-range radio technology that lets devices communicate wirelessly within 30 feet of each other. Apple's latest Macs have Bluetooth built in, and older models can be made Bluetooth-compatible with a USB plug-in.
Using scripts freely available on the Net, Salling's $10 software can be set up to make the machine play music automatically when owners enter the room, and pause it when they leave (as long as they're carrying their cell phone).
Using this "proximity sensing," the software can also lock and unlock a computer as a person enters or leaves the room, or even start and stop a central heating system if used in conjunction with inexpensive and readily available X10 controllers.
The software can also turn a cell phone into a universal remote, controlling music and DVD players or presentation programs like PowerPoint or Apple's Keynote.
"(The software) does the kind of things Bluetooth was supposed to do," said Salling from his home in Stockholm. "It's quite exciting. It's amazing what people are getting it to do."
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